The Platformisation of Digital Payments: The Fabrication of Consumer Interest in the EU FinTech Agenda
Valeria Ferrari, The platformisation of digital payments: The fabrication of consumer interest in the EU FinTech agenda, Computer Law & Security Review, Volume 45, 2022, 105687, ISSN 0267-3649, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clsr.2022.105687.
20 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2022
Date Written: May 19, 2022
This paper investigates, through a qualitative analysis of official documents, how certain imaginaries about technology filter into EU policymaking, allowing or accelerating the transformation of payment infrastructures into the platform economy.
One of the ways in which socio-technical imaginaries filter into policymaking is, it turns out, by informing an image of the consumer which serves to justify measures for the realization of a desired future. In particular, the documents offer a view of the consumer as an actor that is empowered by digitisation. The thesis of this paper is that this view of the consumer is partial: the rhetoric of consumer technological empowerment outweighs and conceals much needed considerations about the vulnerability of consumers vis-a-vis data-intensive payment technologies. Ultimately, the fault lies with the future imaginaries upon which such image is grounded. The vision of the digital payment infrastructure portrayed in the documents is in fact problematic for two reasons. First, the technologies that are portraited as desirable are chosen based on industry interests and trends rather than considerations of benefits and risks that these technologies entail. Secondly, the assumption that a liberalized market will offer more and better choices is flawed, as platformisation entails risks of monopolization and abuses of market power. We suggest that policymakers in this domain should be more critical of the risks entailed by platformisation, and open their imagination to alternative technological futures.
Keywords: Platformisation, Digital payments, Infrastructures, EU policy, Socio-technical imaginaries
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